Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann wants to stay at Anfield beyond 2005.
The German international is currently working his way back to full fitness after surgery on a shin injury which has restricted him to just one substitute appearance so far this season.
But he could be in line to play some part in the second leg of the Reds’ UEFA Cup second-round tie against Steaua Bucharest at Anfield on Thursday, which is poised at 1-1.
With all the speculation over Michael Owen not yet signing a new contract despite having just over 18 months remaining, the fact Hamann has only a similar time left has gone largely unnoticed – although not by the player himself.
“I’ve still got a season left after this one, so there’s no point in beginning negotiations at this stage. But I’ve always been happy here; I like it here and I like the club,” he said.
“We’ve enjoyed some good times over the past few years, and I have no intention of leaving so long as the club wants me.”
Hamann also hopes to get back in the thick of first-team action sooner rather than later.
“I’ve been back in training for the last four weeks and played a few reserve games. It’s now just a question regaining my match fitness and form,” he told the club’s website, www.liverpoolfc.tv.
“Then it’s up to the manager when he needs me. I feel ready to return and I hope I’ll be back soon.”
Striker Owen is hoping Hamann’s return is not long in coming.
“Didi’s been a massive loss for us this season,” he said.
“I don’t think there are many better holding midfielders in the world than Didi.
“I’m looking forward to having him fit and back in the team again – and so is everyone, through to the coaching staff and management.
“He’s a fantastic player for us.”